Selbyville culvert bids come in at $395K and $670K

When it comes to repairing a collapsing roadway, the Selbyville Town Hall now has a number to aim for… sort of.

In 2015, Town officials discovered that a galvanized metal culvert where the Sandy Branch tax ditch flows under Railroad Avenue was rusting away. More than three years later, on Aug 9, the Town finally opened two bids for construction of a new culvert, showing radically different numbers: $395,250 and $670,773.

The Town’s engineering consultant is looking into the discrepancy between the two bids, and the town council will likely decide a path forward at the Sept. 10 council meeting, at 7 p.m. Bid prices are good for 90 days. The Town could also reject both bids.

“Per the bid docs, the replacement itself is schedule to be a 60-days construction time period. But again, that’s after we award the bids and get the date set,” said Stacey Long, town administrator. “We’re just anxious to get this project started and get that road open.”

Railroad Avenue is a two-lane road running parallel to, and between, the railroad track and the Mountaire processing plant. The pipe continues under properties that house Mountaire and Southern Delaware School of the Arts. Near where the pipe has rusted, soil and asphalt has begun crumbling downward. So, currently, the road is closed at the culvert.

“There’s been temporary fixes and that kind of thing for several years,” Long said. Initially, she said, heavy vehicles were asked to avoid the road, which the Town attempted to patch. “But it got to the point it had to be fully closed.”

The August bids included everything for the Sandy Branch Culvert Replacement Project: construction work and materials for demolishing and reconstructing the road, including 60-inch culvert pipe, 12-inch storm drain pipe, inlet structures, concrete headwalls, handrail and posts, grading, rip-rap, asphalt mill and overlay, road reconstruction and stream diversion.

Regardless of which bid, if any, it accepts, Selbyville needs to find the money to fix the culvert. Initial construction estimates had ranged from $300,000 to $500,000, with that higher range significantly exceeded by one of the two bids received.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) has agreed to pay 75 percent of the $52,800 engineering cost for the pre-bid design work done by Davis, Bowden & Friedel Inc., leaving Selbyville to pay the $13,200 balance for that.

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter